In the United States, tipping is a huge part of the culture. When traveling to traveling to other parts of the world, it’s natural to assume that tipping is customary elsewhere as well. In reality, that’s often not the case. To avoid committing serious faux pas while traveling in a place like Asia, you should study up on when tipping is acceptable and when it isn’t. Customs vary significantly from one Asian country to the next, so you should never assume that neighboring countries have the same views on tipping. Below, you can learn more about the tipping customs of eight Asian cities.
The bustling city of Jakarta, which has a population of nearly 10 million people, is the largest one in Indonesia. It’s also the capital, so it is a common destination for tourists. The official currency is the rupiah, and it’s customary to tip with extra rupiahs in certain situations.
By keeping these rules of thumb in mind, you shouldn’t embarrass yourself while you’re in Jakarta.
With a population of more than 10 million people, Seoul is an exciting and vibrant city to visit. It’s also the capital of South Korea, and it’s bursting at its seams with great museums and other cultural attractions. The South Korean won is the official currency in Seoul. In general, tipping is not expected. You shouldn’t plan on tipping in restaurants, and you should never tip the taxi driver. If you try to tip the driver, he’ll probably refuse the extra money. As far as hotels go, international hotels roll a 10 percent fee into the cost of the stay, and tips are not expected by porters.
Approximately 12 million people live in Bangkok, which also happens to be the capital of Thailand. There’s no end to the fun in this unique and exciting city, but it pays to have a firm grip on local customs concerning tipping. The official currency of Thailand is the baht. Things to keep in mind about tipping in Bangkok include:
Singapore is unique for a number of reasons. For one thing, it’s actually a city-state. For another, tipping is technically against the law there. Therefore, there’s no question about whether or not you should tip people in Singapore. At the very most, you should simply plan on smiling and saying “thank you” upon receiving superior service. From hotels to restaurants to taxis, you shouldn’t plan on tipping anywhere while you are in Singapore. It simply isn’t done.
Compared with many other Asian cities, the population of Kuala Lumpur is relatively small. With around 1.6 million inhabitants, the capital of Malaysia is still a very fast-paced and exciting place to be. The official currency of Malaysia is the ringgit. Tipping is acceptable and expected in Kuala Lumpur, so you should make sure to keep extra ringgits on you at all times. Tips for tipping in Kuala Lumpur include:
If there’s one Asian city that you don’t want to miss, it’s Hong Kong. You also don’t want to embarrass yourself while you’re there, so you should know what to do when it comes to tipping there. In general, tipping is expected in Hong Kong, whose currency is the Hong Kong dollar. Keep these points in mind:
Manila is the capital of the Philippines, and it has a population of around 1.6 million people. You should expect to pay tips when you visit this sprawling, intriguing city, where the peso is the official currency. Basic tips about tipping in Manila include:
One of the rudest things you can do in Japan is pay a tip. Tipping is definitely not done in this fascinating island nation, and Tokyo is no exception. If you’re lucky enough to travel to Tokyo, simply pay what you owe and leave it at that. According to most sources, tips are automatically added to whatever is being charged. The good news is that you’ll have a much easier time avoiding trouble while you’re in Japan because there’s no question about paying a tip. Just keep your extra money in your pocket or spend it on unique souvenirs.